ClubLink poised to purchase Eagle Creek?

CHRIS STEVENSON -- Ottawa Sun

, Last Updated: 7:39 AM ET

The Eagle Creek Golf Course, the region's top layout, could be on the verge of being sold.

Numerous sources in the local and national golf industry are abuzz with talk ClubLink, the King City-based company which offers its members the opportunity to play a network of courses in Ontario and Quebec, appears poised to buy the Dunrobin course from owner Andre Lacasse.

If no snags are encountered in the course of final negotiations (and Lacasse has a well-earned reputation for being a tough negotiator), an announcement could be made as early as the end of this month, according to sources.

It's expected ClubLink would make Eagle Creek private.

"No comment. It's confidential," said Lacasse, who rescued Eagle Creek from bankruptcy in 1996 and, with his hands-on approach, restored the lustre to the region's best golf course while operating it as a public facility.

He and his wife, Jeanette, brought Eagle Creek up to an unprecedented level of conditioning and service, installing interlocking brick cart paths and finishing the massive clubhouse which had stood for years as an empty shell.

It had stood as a symbol of the club's troubled financial past before the Lacasses arrived on the scene.

Their painstaking work has been rewarded: Eagle Creek is ranked 75th on ScoreGolf's Top 100 Golf Courses in Canada list, the only area course to make the list.

The course hosted the Canadian Tour for the Trafalgar Classic in the early 1990s and the Eagle Creek Classic from 1999-2001 and earned rave reviews from the pros.

Former Canadian touring pro Ray Stewart has called the course "a work of art."

Construction of the course, designed by former U.S. Open champion and CBS analyst Ken Venturi and built in 1990, is rumoured to have cost $12 million.

The course, intended to be the region's first private equity golf club with members owning shares in the club, was conceived by former homebuilder R.J. Nicol.

But that plan dissolved into a bitter court battle when the club fell into financial difficulty.

The course was operated by a bankruptcy trustee before Lacasse bought the course in 1996 as a Valentine's Day gift for Jeanette, so the story goes.

The addition of Eagle Creek would give ClubLink four courses in the national capital region along with Haute Plaines, GreyHawk (a 36-hole facility) and the Kanata Golf and Country Club.

ClubLink currently operates 36 private clubs and Glen Abbey Golf Club in Oakville.


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